tv The Daily Rundown MSNBC April 8, 2010 9:00am-9:59am EDT
>> nice to meet you can be roughly translated as may i light my shoe bomb? >> mike barnicle? >> on the occasion of our birthday, where america's leaders start their day and this is where my day ends. >> gets on a park bench in central park. willie geist, what have you learned this morning? >> reporter: i learned at the augusta municipal course from one wise man, who said, don't blame tiger, if you put a man in a bin full of apples, don't be mad when he takes a bite. >> oh, my goodness. that is brilliant. okay. and i've learned that tomorrow on "morning joe" we're going to be having an event. mike barnicle and savannah guthrie are going to be -- it's going to be "morning mike." >> that will be a mess. that is awful. >> guys, what time is it? >> it's "morning joe." but right now it's time for "the
daily rundown" with chuck and savannah. signed, sealed, delivered, but not yet ratified. can president obama get the landmark nuclear pact with russia through the senate? we're live in prague this morning. plus up in the air and above the law. a qatari diplomat sets off a terrorism scare aboard a united flight. why there won't likely be any charges. good morning. it's april 8th, 2010. i'm savannah guthrie live in washington. >> and i'm chuck todd live in prague. and we're going to begin here -- it's begin two decades since we've seen a treaty like this and more than a year in the making between president obama and russian president dmitry medvedev. the u.s. and russia finally sealed the deal on a first step toward reducing their nuclear arsenals and both leaders said there would be more cuts to come. >> this day demonstrates the determination of the united states and russia, the two nations that hold over 90% of the world's nuclear weapons, to
pursue responsible global leadership. >> now, here are the keenum bers. both country have agreed to limit their nuclear arsenals to just over 1,500 weapons each. long-range missiles would be limited for both countries to approximately 700 each. this will take over seven years to get these reductions down. the two countries have, as the president noted, 90% of the world's nuclear weapons. there are seven other countries that account for the other 10%. the biggest sticking point in this was missile defense. it came up at their joint press conference. president obama tried to make it seem as if it was just an issue that they will keep discussing, there's an open dialogue, and maybe missile defense and russian agreement in order to get rid of those tactical nuclear weapons that the russians have usually taken off the table in these negotiations, that they will talk about that, then the u.s. will talk act missile defense. but president medvedev talked a great deal about missile defense
and said that it was the toughest part of this agreement, savannah. >> that's right, chuck. medvedev made a final run at the president in the last moments of these negotiations to try to get missile defense in that treaty. it was top negotiating for about the last year or so, but it's not over. now the president has to get this through the united states senate. medvedev through the duma. how are you looking at the ratification process in the senate, chuck? is it going to be pretty difficult? >> well, i've talked to some leaders on the republican side of the aisle, because here's the math -- you need 67 votes, two-thirds of the senate, to ratify this treaty. so if you look at it this way, 59 democrats, they need at least eight republicans. we know of at least one. dick lugar, longtime foreign policy maven on the republican side of the aisle, very close to the president when it comes to these issues of nuclear policy, he is sort of the president's go-to republican on this, and he's whipping the vote. he's finding those seven other republicans to come aboard. but this won't be easy.
and i was talking to one republican leadership aide who said, look, the president's decision to change the country's nuclear posture, to decide not to build any more nuclear weapons at all, not even maybe replace older weapons with newer weapons, but also change what the policy is in the united states when it comes to when we would use nuclear weapons as a country, that the start treaty, savannah, will be a proxy for a bigger debate about the role of nuclear weapons in american foreign policy. >> well, as you know, the white house likes to point out the overwhelming bipartisan majorities that other treaties have passed with. we'll see if there's a new climate that makes it a little more difficult this time. chuck, we'll check back in with you a little later. back here, a terrorism scare overnight on a you nighted flight from washington to denver. f-16s had to be scrambled to guide the plane's landing after officials say a qatari diplomat sneaked a smoke in the bathroom and then made things worse for himself with a snarky remark.
nbc's justice correspondent up over the night following this story. so, what happened here and can this person be charged, will he be charged? >> as for what happened, this was united flight 663, started in washington, d.c., was going to stop over in denver on its way to las vegas. about 45 minutes to an hour before the plane was to land in denver, a man, a passenger in the first-class section, was getting up and repeatedly going to the bathroom and coming back. then the last time he was in there for about 15 minutes. when he came back, a flight attendant thought she smelled smoke, asked the man about it. he was evasive. she notified the federal air marshals that were on the plane. they confronted him, and he said, well, i was trying to light my shoes on fire. obviously, some kind of smart aleck remark. they detained him, they sat next to him, they didn't actually restrain him, according to passengers who were on the flight, but basically kept him in check. the pilot notified the ground. as you say, the planes were scrambled.
other pilots who were in the air at the time were notified. he was thoroughly searched. he was wearing sandal, not normal shoes. no explosives were found on him. passengers were got off the plane. he was searched again, no explosives found on the plane. so the offense really here is smoking on an airplane. he could have been charged with that. he's been released. looks like no charges will be filed. >> he has diplomatic immunity. >> he does. >> we won't get to that point, but what if we wanted to charge him with making a threat, if you could interpret whatever he said that way? >> qatar would have to waive diplomatic immunity to charge him. i'd be very surprised if he isn't asked to leave the country. >> nbc's pete williams. long night for you as we followed that story so we appreciate your report. >> you bet. in west virginia, rescuers are now inside the mine where 2 25 people perished on monday, hoping they will fine one of the four missing miners alive. tom costello is there this morning. tom, bring us up to date on this hope for a rescue.
>> reporter: well, just to remind you there are four miners that are missing, and the hope is that all of them are alive, but of course the governor has already said repeatedly that the chances are very slim. they're hoping for a miracle here. 32 rescuers went into the mine just before 5:00 a.m. and interestingly, before they went in, they had to be very cleanly shaven, very close shave, because they had to wear oxygen masks, and those masks had to fit very tightly against their faces. as they go into this mine, which, of course, has just been consumed with very, very lethal levels of carbon monoxide and methane and hydrogen. they believe that those levels have dropped enough to allow the rescue to go in. so they went in at 4:55 this morning. but they have a very long journey, savannah. they have to travel five miles deep into this mountain, into the mine, to finally get to the location where, if these men were alive, if there's any chance that they might be holed up in perhaps two different rescue chambers.
those rescue chambers have oxygen that they would be able to breathe. again, these are a lot of ifs in a very, very delicate and unlikely scenario. but that's where they are right now. we expect the first word from the res ruers getting to these rescue chambers by about noon east coast time. back to you. >> all right. tom costello. we're waiting for a news conference there. thank you for your report from nay owe ma, west virginia, this morning. overseas, a violent uprising in the former soviet republic of kyrgyzstan. the government has been overthrown. the picture on the front page of all three u.s. papers tells the story. and this could have big implications for the u.s. a key military base for the war in afghanistan is located in that country. nbc's moscow producer joins us on the phone now. yonatan, tell us what the scene is there now. is it calm? >> reporter: good morning, savannah. many people took to the streets again today, but it was much
calmer than yesterday. we weren't seeing the violent protests since the government was already overthrown. it was mostly political rallies. people a little bit celebrating yesterday but also a lot of people in mourning, upwards of probably 75 people were killed yesterday. so this wasn't celebratory, and also people were already making demands on the new interim government to sort of stick to the democratic ideals that they've been talking about, because the president they just overthrew was also brought to power by a national uprising, and he turned out to disappoint them. now, the debate you mentioned, which is high on everyone's agenda, is the air base just outside the capital in bishkek. it's a vital supply base for the u.s. and afghanistan and the opposition leaders who are now in charge have said in the bast they would want to see the base closed. i spoke today to rosa, the head of the new interim government. she told me that as of now they're not looking to change the status of the base, nothing
is changed, but she does want to have conversation about it with the u.s. ambassador soon. still a question mark what's going to be happening with the base and how it will affect the u.s. in afghanistan. >> we can bet u.s. officials are watching that part of the world very closely. our moscow producer on the ground this morning, thank you. a california man is due in federal court today accused of making threatening phone calls to house speaker nancy pelosi. nbc's mike viqueira following this story from washington for us. mike, what happened here? >> reporter: good morning, savannah. well, a san francisco man with a history of menacing and angry behavior, both to his church, to an official on a transit bus some years ago, and now to nancy pelosi, has been arrested on charges of making threatening phone calls to the speaker's home, to the speaker's offices, both in san francisco and here in washington, as well as to speaker pelosi's husband's place of business in san francisco. this comes a day of course after the washington state senator,
patty murray, a man was also arrested on charges of making threatening phone calls to her office as well. both of these incidents, savannah, are a result of the health care debate and some of the anger surrounding that issue. savannah? >> all right. nbc's mike viqueira in washington for us, thanks. coming up, are temperatures finally cooling in the war of words between afghanistan's hamid karzai and the united states? plus, oh, yes, golf. that's why they have the masters. tiger woods finally gets ready to tee off in guaugusta. we'll check in live with willie geist. from "pulp fiction," "inglourious basterds," "an inconvenient truth," to nuclear terrorism. >> in the first millionth of a second, the fireball is 500 feet across. in ten seconds, it gross to over one mile. on a day the u.s. and russia sign a landmark nuclear treaty, the worst-case scenarios in vivid detail. academy award-winning producer
gives us a sneak preview of his latest project live next. but first a look at the president's schedule. as you know, necessary prague, having signed the treaty. tonight, dinner with eastern european leaders. [ ding! ] [ chirp! ] [ skid! ] [ thud! thud! thud! thud! ] [ crunch! crunch! crunch! crunch! ] [ clang! ] [ clank! fizz! clink! ] it's... time! [ click! click! click! click! ] [ indistinct conversations ] shh! [ girl ] it's on! [ female announcer ] walmart presents "secrets of the mountain." april 16th on nbc. make tonight a family movie night with marketside pizza and pepsi. with thousands of great rollbacks, it's rollback time. save money. live better. walmart.
you stood in the basement gathering dust while i, sneezing, itching eyes kept you from our favorite stream. the one that runs through a field where pollen floats through the air. but now, with the strength of 24-hour zyrtec® to relieve my worst allergy symptoms, indoors and outdoors... let's go before the fish stop biting.
we estimate that there are about 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world. >> that is a scene from the draw mattic new documentary "countdown to zero." it describes the modern nuclear threat, one in which cold war adversaries have been replaced by terrorists, suitcase bombs and loose nukes. the documentary was produced by lawrence bender. he also produced "good will
hunting," "pulp fiction," "an inconvenient truth," and "inglourious basterds." we've done your resume. you turn to the threat of nuclear terrorism. i saw the movie last night. incredibly chilling. >> thank you. >> why did you choose this top snik. >> you mentioned "an inconvenient truth." a few years ago when i produced that, we saw first hand how we were able to use a movie to affect people, to create awareness, to motivate people to create political will and make a change. obviously, there are two things in the world that can catastrophically affect humanity and the planet. that's the climate crisis and nuclear weapons. and this movie is about the nuclear threat. and our hope is to educate people and make them aware, just like in "an inconvenient truth." >> since the fall of the berlin wall, i think a lot of us have fallen into almost forgetting about the threat that nuclear weapons pose because the threat has changed so much. this really puts it in stark
relief. i want to play a clip of the video. i thought it was one of the more chilling moments in the video. we'll play it and then talk about it. >> in the first millionth of a second, the fireball is 500 feet across. within ten seconds, it would grow to over one mile. the temperature would rise to 20 million degrees fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of the sun. tens of square blocks would just be melted, would just be evaporated. >> everything would be vaporized. >> we talked about this yesterday. you said part of your audience is young people. >> mm-hmm. >> you mentioned folks in college right now were born after the fall of the berlin wall. >> graduating college today, you were born actually after the cold war. the genetics of nuclear -- the nuclear issue is not in your body. it's so weird. we screened the movie a few days ago for a group of young people, and they had no idea about the legacy that's been left to them in terms of nuclear weapons.
so, yes, i think the audience is a very wide audience. we have right now 50 chapters around the world of people on college campuses, and many different countries creating this grassroots movement. next week when the president's convening the 47 heads of states here in washington with those 47 motorcades, closing down d.c. >> yes. >> we also have a van, well 12 college students, these great young people, starting off across the country to start this sort of grassroots movement leading up to the opening of the movie in july. >> obviously, because we are post cold war, the real nuclear threat faced now, if there are loose nukes that get into the wrong hands, nuclear technology getting into the wrong hands. >> right. >> also the possibility of a mistake. >> right. >> a fascinating story in your documentary involving boris yeltsin. tell us that story. >> well, there's a lot of crazy -- we have no idea the things that go on with these nuclear weapons, especially with
the united states, which we have the most secure and safe environment for nuclear weapons. but in 1995, which is not that long ago, i made -- what's the name of my movie i made in 1995 with george clooney? "from dusk till dawn." sorry. so it's like my recent history. we shot off a missile into outer space and over the north pole to study the northern lights. >> the u.s. did. >> the u.s. did. we informed the russian military, of course, but it didn't go up the chain of command. so all of a sudden they thought they were under attack by the united states. the military walked in to boris yeltsin's office, took out the proverbial black box, opened it up, gave them the box and said we're under attack, you have five minutes to push that button. and for all accounts, he should have pushed that button because this doctrine of attack that you have to launch before you're hit. and he sat there and, of course, he didn't push the button. and we don't know why to this
date, but he didn't. and what's terrifying is that there are many of these examples that happened over the years. >> you have some amazing interviews. mikhail gorbachev being one of them, robert mcnamara, former defense secretary. >> tony blair, president musharraf, valerie blame from the cia and others. it's a strong lineup of people. >> what most surprised you about this project? >> okay, here's what's most -- i don't feel good about this, but i was sitting next to a veteran from the cia for 20 years, ralph larson. he went with george tenet to -- days after 9/11 and landed in pakistan to meet with president musharraf in that terrible time period. senior, senior guy. he told me, after he watched the movie, that i should feel good because we haven't overstated the issue and that actually things are much worse than how we said in the movie. and i looked at him and i go, am i supposed to feel good about that or bad?
>> yeah. >> so that's why i'm really happy that we made this movie. >> it's a fascinating movie, and it is quite dramatic so, we know how hollywood likes to overdramatize, but in this case, it seems -- >> this movie is edge of your seat. it is terrifying and eye opening, a sort of wake-up call to the issue of proliferation terrorism and the accidental launch of nuclear weapons. >> well, it's very much in the news these days with the president's trip overseas. lawrence bender, a pleasure you have to to have you with us this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, new video surfaces of a captured american soldier. and after months of tabloid headlines, tiger woods gets back to business in augusta. that's golf. but it's what fans will see before today's match that has everybody talking. but first, washingtonspeak. and you're looking at it. the bilat. this is washington jargon, short for bilateral, and only washington is calling it a meeting not quite good enough, but that's what it is, a diplomatic get-together between two countries.
three countries would be a trilat. next week will be a bilat bonanza. as lawrence mentioned, nearly 50 world leaders coming to washington and all want a bilat with president obama. this is "the daily rundown." [ male announcer ] mix it. blend it. sprinkle it. sweet! [ female announcer ] just about anywhere you use sugar you can use splenda® no calorie sweetener. [ male announcer ] savory. fluffy. yummy. sweet! [ female announcer ] splenda®. america's favorite no calorie sweetener.
the smell of home made chili whatever scents fill your ] household, purina tidy cats scoop helps neutralize odors in multiple cat homes... keeping your house smelling like it should. purina tidy cats scoop. keep your home smelling like home. somewhere in america... the slightest breeze harbors immense power. the tallest buildings leave the lightest footprints. a fifty-ton train makes barely a mark on the environment. and a country facing climate change finds climate solutions.
somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers. about all the discounts boswe're offering. i've got. i some catchphrases that'llideas make these savings even more memorable. gecko: all right... gecko: good driver discounts. now that's the stuff...? boss: how 'bout this? gecko: ...they're the bee's knees? boss: or this? gecko: sir, how 'bout just "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance." boss: ha, yeah, good luck with that catching on! anncr: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. preparing for retirement can be complex. and with 7,000 boomers a day reaching retirement age, the need for help has never been greater. a merrill lynch financial advisor
can help you plan, invest, and manage your assets, which could make your second act better than your first. merrill lynch wealth management. 9:24 on the east coast, 6:24 in the west and 3:24 in the afternoon on prague. the u.s. military confirms a new video released by the taliban is that of private first class beau bergdahl. the american soldier was captured in afghanistan last june, however, it is not clear when that seven-minute video was made. a brooklyn imam who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi will be sentenced today. the 39-year-old cleric is charged in connection with a plot to carry out a series of coordinated attacks on new york city subways. and the queen of daytime talk is heading to prime time. "the wall street journal" reports later today oprah winfrey will announce the next chapter in her broadcasting
career, an hour-long nighttime show to debut on winfrey's cable network sometime next year. so chuck, now, you can watch oprah at night instead of having to tivo it every single day. and back to you in prague. >> reporter: well, that is a relief, i'll say that. well, look, prague is the place to be for real political junk junkies. you should be headed to the southern republican leadership conference which kicks off today. national republicans are streaming into the business easy for the first 2012 cattle call. sarah palin, newt gingrich, bobby jindal all set to speak. we're still seven months from november, but it's worth remembering the very different move four years ago at the southern republican leadership conference. take a listen. >> i wonder sometimes what's all the handwringing going on around the republican party these days?
>> our most immediate political priority isn't the '08 presidential race. it's the '06 midterm elections, and we've got to do it and we've got to win. my friends, don't think it isn't going to be a tough fight because it is. >> this president's under siege. and if we follow him or not follow him based on polls, shame on us. george w. bush, ladies and gentlemen, is the winston churchill of our time. >> reporter: it was such a difficult climate for republicans in 2006. john mccain, who wasn't going to win that straw poll that year, decided to ask supporters to write in bush's name to show republican loyalty. this time around, the republicans are feeling a lot better, but still two big names are staying away -- mitt romney. he's on his book tour, but it was his second-place showing in 2006 which actually kicked off his presidential bid in 2008, so it's a little surprising that he's skipping this time. and then tim pawlenty, the minnesota governor.
yesterday he was with michele bachmann and sarah palin for that rally up in minnesota, and that was a minor attempt to quell speculation that pawlenty was simply skipping the new orleans event so as he was not to be overshadowed by palin. other 2010 names that are going to be there, rick perry, he'll be there this weekend. not only does he have his re-election, but some people think he might want to run for president. marco rubio will not be there. it will be michael steele's first public appearance in front of republican loyalists. it will be interesting to see what he says and how he says it considering all of the tumult that has been going on in the last few weeks. all these 2012-ers are expected to participate in the straw poll. they're all downplaying it, except for one, ron paul. his supporters are organizing big time. if he wins this one, look for a big movement among the other republicans to try to discourage other republican organizations from even holding straw polls
because they won't want to see ron paul continue to be able to win these things. still a long way to go. bill frist won the straw poll in 2006, so it wasn't quite exactly the easiest event to see and handicap and forecast for the future. moving over to the democrats, we're talking down to super senate tuesday. that's may 18th. it's a big primary day with contests in arkansas, kentucky, and pennsylvania. well, in arkansas, it's the big banks that are enemy number one and another safer boogeyman in tough economic times, companies that send jobs overseas. take a listen at this new blanche lincoln ad, which attacks her primary opponent. >> in arkansas, blanche lincoln says she voted against bailing out wall street, but her vote shows differently. >> mrs. lincoln. >> aye. >> police lincoln, aye. >> i'm bill halter and i approve this message because we need a senator ho who will stand up to big banks and wall street and fight for our families. >> reporter: and then the other ad that lincoln is hitting bill
halter on has to do with sending jobs overseas. he denies he did it, but it just shows you that these two campaigns are now hitting the negative tv ad wars and it's heating up big time in arkansas. and by the way, savannah, i should mark this day. it was 97 years ago today, one of the greatest things happened for political junkies everywhere, and that was the ratification of the 17th amendment, which made sure that there were direct elections of all u.s. senators, guaranteeing that every two years we have somewhere between 33 and this year i think it's 36 senate races for all of us to get excited about and follow. >> quite a birthday present for one chuck todd. chuck, thanks so much. >> reporter: i don't know what you're talking about there, savannah. >> yeah. all right. well, i know you're sad to miss this one, chuck, but at 1:42 p.m. eastern time, long after you've gone to bed in prague, tiger woods begins his first 18 holes of professional
golf since november. nbc's willie geist is in augusta. willie, even bigger news perhaps, of course, the sideshow, this new nike ad with tiger. tell us about it. >> reporter: yes, savannah. this is the 2010 augusta national spectator guide. every person who walks through this gate to watch the tournament gets one of these, and tiger woods is' name is just one among many this program. but that's hardly the way it will play out this week. yesterday tiger woods and nike coming out with an ad that some people are calling a little bit crass, perhaps. he stares blankly into the camera. it's shot in black and white, as we hear the voice of his father asking him, what did you learn, son? nike is not saying where they called this audio, but it is, in fact, the voice of earl woods, who passed away several years ago, speaking to his son, three, four years after he passed away. some people saying this portrays tiger as a victim of some kind, it begins his redemption
process. we'll leave it up to the viewers to decide what they think about that. as you said, savannah, he tees off at 1:42 eastern time. some of the players are off the tees here. and last night tiger woods did go to the golf writers association dinner. a lot of people were expecting him not to show up to that. he did show up, stayed for about an hour. a lot of people giving him credit for that because they've been all over him for the last four months, have the media. >> all right, willie. well, we'll await your report with baited breath tomorrow because for us at "the daily rundown" it's all about the golf. just so you know. >> reporter: right. of course. >> yeah. thank you, willie. we'll see you tomorrow. coming up, president obama gets russia on board with reining in nuclear weapons. can the same be said about reining in iran's nuclear program? chuck will be back with some new details live from prague. plus, are these pants the secret weapon to saving the economy? are they even pants? hear what experts are saying about signs of life in the american consumer.
it's rollback time! save money. live better. walmart. aveeno hair shines in real life. new aveeno nourish plus shine with active naturals wheat smooths damaged cuticles for 75% more shine in one use. real shine, for real life. yours. [ female announcer ] new aveeno nourish plus shine. bottom of the hour now. let's look at the stories driving the day. we are expecting an update at any minute on the rescue operation in that west virginia coal mine. rescue teams are in the mine right now. officials are hoping to reach the area where the four miners may be trapped sometime this morning. the opposition leader in kyrgyzstan whose followers overthrew the government yesterday, says she will meet with the american ambassador later today. the self-proclaimed head of the interim government says nothing has changed at the usair base at manos, a critical outpost for
supplying if war in zpan. and in just a few hours, president obama will host a dinner prague for leaders of central and eastern europe. the meeting follows, of course, this morning's signing of a new arms control treaty with russia. the treaty now must be ratified by lawmakers in both countries. and of course chuck is always where the action is, live in prague. chuck, i guess it wasn't all about the new start treaty today. iran came up at the news briefing. let's listen to what the president had to say. >> -- the united states and russia are part of a coalition of nations insisting that the islamic republic of iran face consequences because they have continually failed to meet their obligations. we are working together at the united nations security council to pass strong sanctions on iran. and we will not tolerate actions that flout the mpt, risk an arms race in a vital region, and threaten the credibility of the international community and our collective security.
>> chuck, sounds like in that bilat between medvedev and obama, the start stuff was pretty much finished and they focused predominantly on iran? >> reporter: it does sound like it. and that's what we were told that a lot of conversation was going to be on, iran. and i think, you know, check the president's words carefully. as we've come to learn on these international trips, va sa van na, and you know this well, you have to -- every word matters and how they word things matter. the fact that the president kept saying we are working in the united nations to do strong sanctions, it's a different set of words being used now than, you know, we're trying to come to an agreement on what to do. you know, you're not hearing that anymore. the implication is that the u.s. and russia are now on the same page of what sanctions might look like out of the united nations. now, look, we've still got a whole bunch of other steps. you've got the china issue, which will be dealt with next week, who's coming to washington, d.c., and then you have the issue of the european union and what additional sanctions can go from there.
but the fact that you hear them talking like that, either the president is trying to oversell russia's agreement on this, or that they really are a lot closer on what to do about iran than they were, say, six months ago. >> yeah. it will be interesting to see. and of course as you say china very important here, too. we'll check back with you in a minute, chuck. let's turn to the economy now. after months, maybe years of down right depressing news, consumer spending may be finally turning a corner. it seems shoppers are ready to spend for spring. joining us now is kimberly palmer, the consumer reporter for "u.s. news & world report." this has been one area that really has not seen much good news for -- during this recession, but finally, signs of life in retail? >> that's right. it looks like we're finally turning a corner. we can see from march sales that sales were actually up possibly almost 10%. we're going to see more numbers coming in today, but it looks like we're seeing a resurgence, people are spending again. part of it was the good weather across the country. easter happened earlier so,
spending associated with that, happened in march. so people are getting back in the spending mood. >> and there was concern, wasn't there, that after this dramatic great recession as we're now calling it, people would be very reluctant, that they wanted to save, which on the one hand is good for individual families but bad for the economy if people close their pocketbooks. >> that's right. it does look like people are being a little more wary, especially of debt. we're seeing credit card debt numbers coming in lower so, that is a good thing for people and also for the economy in the long run so, people are steeling back their debt a little bit, but they are still pieing things. we're seeing an uptick there. >> big-ticket items, too. >> the ipad, people are buying that. electronics. luxury goods, which had been down during the recession, we're seeing a comeback there. big-ticket items are coming back. >> what caught my eye in the front page of "the new york times" yesterday, jeggings. here's a word i'd never heard before. let's show a picture. apparently they're jeans that are so tight they're almost like leggings.
and we hear that jeggings are really spurring sales at the mall of all things. >> yeah. it sounds silly, but the fact is when people are excited about something like these jeggings, they do get out there. no one has these in their closet already so, you have to go out shopping. once you're out there, you're more likely to buy other things as well. it can have an effect. >> kimberly from u.s. news and world report. i guess we all have carte blanche now to go shopping and help the economy. thanks so much. our trivia. it is republican representative pete hoekstra of michigan. coming up, is the dust starting to settle between the u.s. and afghanistan's hamid karzai after a week of karzai threatening to join the taliban and unleashing western tirades? we'll take a look at where things stand now. andrea mitchell, jim miklaszewski and richard engel up next for our panel.
but first, some business. the white house soup of the day. it's chicken tortilla at the white house mess today. edia, i't the building blocks of a perfect girls' weekend. it all starts with having more hotels to choose from. so i can find someplace familiar... or somewhere more unique. nice. then expedia lets me compare dates to find out when i can save the most cash. done and done. we should do this more often. where you book matters. expedia. you can label as "different." like janice. uh-huh. yeah. fashion deficient. and tom... copy incapable. it's open kimono time. looking good, dan. oh, we want to make sure all our ducks in a row. yeah. volume control syndrome. but we focus on the talent and skill that each person... brings to the team. i mean, no one's really concerned about labels. not even mine. labels get in the way. disabilities rarely do.
hey, i'm don shula,he way. disabilities rarely do. and i lost 32 pounds on nutrisystem. and i'm mary anne shula, and i've lost 23 pounds on nutrisystem. nutrisystem silver for 2010, the weight-loss program designed for older americans to lose weight and feel great again! let's face it, the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight. not anymore, honey. it's easy with nutrisystem. for a limited time, get our best tv offer: four weeks free! that's 112 meals absolutely free. even the shipping is free. i look and feel so much better, and so does coach. i'm back to my playing weight. see how nutrisystem silver can change your life. trust me, you will lose weight. don't miss our best tv offer: order now and you can get an extra four weeks of delicious meals. that's right, you can get an extra 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 28 dinners, and 28 desserts, 112 meals free.
call or click now. get back in the game. all right. it was on this date 36 years ago that the once and future home run king, hank aaron, hit the 715th home run of his career, breaking babe ruth's record. he hit it off of my dodgers, al downing was the pitcher. one of the most famous scenes, rounding the bases, two guys sneaking over the fence. in this day and age, can you imagine, savannah, if somebody climbed the fences and started patting somebody on the back? probably an ugly scene, probably stop the game and clear the stadium. hank aaron, still the home run king as far as many of us are concerned. >> you know, chuck, and i have a slightly more important flashback. on this date in 1972, chuck todd was born. a very, very exciting anniversary for us. and now we're the same age,
chuck. >> reporter: there you go. >> moving on, because i know this makes you uncomfortable. reading the diplomatic speak out of the state department yesterday, seems the sus trying to calm the war of words ma hid karzai stated, a state department spokesman saying that karzai remains a figure we respect, after robert gibbs pointedly refused to call him an ally. our foreign policy dream team, nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, host of "andrea mitchell reports," jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, and of course live in kabul, nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. andrea,ly start with you. on karzai, you read diplospeak better than anyone we know. i thought it was interesting how crowley said after gibbs didn't want to call him an ally, he said this is a figure we respect. they're trying to tamp down this kind of words. >> this is r-e-s-p-e-c-t. how do you interpret respect?
they just want to get past this. they have so few options. i think richard has the other end of this, which is the karzai team also trying to dial it down. there is no love lost here. but they don't know what else to do. and he is now their guy, elected. they've made the determination that that election was not fraudulent, at least on its face. and they've got to deal with him. the surge is about to ramp up, and what do you do when you're trying to have a policy with an 18-month time line for withdrawal, for handing it over to the team in place and the team in place has tot gob the afghan government? >> as andrea pointed out, the other end of this, are karzai and his allies dialing it down as well? >> karzai's spokesman is certainly trying to dial it down. they don't need a major blowup with the united states. so much of this government is dependent on u.s. military
support, u.s. economic support, and i think it really goes back to that deadline that andrea mentioned. the u.s. president obama has set a deadline for the surge. it will start ramping up now and will continue to ramp up through the summer and then is pretty soon going to start ramping back down. so there isn't really time for a major political upheaval, a major changing of the political framework. certainly the u.s. doesn't have the capital or the time to change the karzai government right now when it's done so much to get him elected and to build his international credibility. >> mik, i've been so curious to know how the military has been responding to karzai's comments, particularly at this moment when, u.s. troops are about to put it on the line in kandahar. are they used to this? do they figure, oh, it's just karzai mouthing off? or is this pretty offensive to them? >> well, you know, there is some concern, as richard pointed out. a large part of the u.s. strategy is a strong governance
within the outlying areas of afghanistan. but if i may, i know this may be unconventional, i'd like to ask richard a question if i could. just how much pressure does karzai feel he's under? because this mcchrystal strategy is focused largely on the provinces, establishing governance there. does he feel threatened by that? and particularly the kanld har city strategy, which is aimed at forcing his brother, walid karzai, out of power? >> there are -- there are two strategies under way here. the mcchrystal strategy, which is to try and build up local leaders, to try and establish relationships directly with people who are of influence in kandahar and other cities, has a limited effect here. the government of karzai is still very powerful. you can't really ignore the central government. karzai still has the authority to replace provincial governors, replace police chiefs, so the
mcchrystal and his top advisers still need to deal with karzai. karzai does not support the kandahar offensive, and this is probably the biggest sticking point. partially because mcchrystal and others have made it no secret that they want karzai to rein in his brother, who has been accused of involvement in the drug traffic, and karzai himself is from kandahar. so if you can imagine the u.s. military is telling the president that he basically has no choice but to rein in his own brother and to allow an attack on his own hometown. and that's not sitting very well with karzai. but unless he does that, then the u.s. military feels they can't make progress in fighting the taliban. and that i think this fundamental dispute is what's causing a lot of the tension. >> as you know, the u.s. military sees success in kandahar city absolutely essential to any long-term success in the entire war. >> reporter: you guys, i want to
change the subject & rhand -- >> go ahead, chuck. it's your show, after all. >> reporter: no, that's fine. it's an impressive -- we're from all parts of the world here. i want to shift it very quickly to iran. we talked about what the president medvedev talked about bought we didn't bring up ahmadinejad shot at president obama. andrea, we're used to this. this is sort of the ahmadinejad's way. what is the u.s. state department thinking of ahmadinejad's statements? >> they really think that this is ahmadinejad reacting rather predictably to the new nuclear posture view, not so much to the start treaty, although it it makes him nervous when he sees medvedev and obama cozying up and talking about sanctioning
against iran and the possibility of a u.n. meeting today to deal with the possibility of drafting a resolution. this is a reaction to the new nuclear strategy announced, c z which says the united states is not going to use nuclear weapons against other countries except against iran or north korea who wouldn't comply with the nonproliferation treaty. he's calling obama a cowboy. this is for the domestic audience. >> the carve-out, the exception that swallows the rule. we have to let chuck go. we'll lose the satellite. >> bye, chuck. happy birthday. >> happy birthday, chuck. we'll see you a little bit later. >> all right, guys. >> let's continue the discussion quickly about iran. richard, speaking of cozying up to use andrea's words, what's going on between karzai and
ahmadinejad? >> well, i think this goes back to also a domestic audience play. karzai is trying to prove to the taliban, trying to prove to the afghan people that he's not just america's whipping boy. that he has some independence and he's looking for alternative power bases. in one of his moments when he was particularly upset and personally offended by the obama administration, he's been reaching out to iran in part because he knows that will annoy the united states. karzai had a very close relationship with the bush administration. they used to talk by videoconference regularly. that relationship is not nearly as close now, and karzai is an emotional person. he's someone whole lash out. also, something else to consider, which is also key to the conflict here, kushg stan to the north, there is a major u.s. base there temporarily shut down. i think mick might have an idea what that means for this conflict, if i'm going to
redirect your show here. >> i know. actually, i wanted to get to that, but believe it or not, we're out of time. this jo isn't as easy as it looks, you guys. jim at the pentagon, richard engel in kabul and andrea mitchell here in washington. don't forget, andrea, 1:00, her show right here on msnbc. >> i have bill cohen. >> you have bill cohen today. we'll be watching that. ladies, what does your iq have to do with how much you drink sf. >> a new study revealing surprising answers perhaps. it coop considered most unusual street sign we've seen. we will get to the bottom of it as we to "the shallow end" next. if you're shopping for a new car, we invite you to put us to the test. and may the best car win.
blend it. sprinkle it. sweet! [ female announcer ] just about anywhere you use sugar you can use splenda® no calorie sweetener. [ male announcer ] savory. fluffy. yummy. sweet! [ female announcer ] splenda®. america's favorite no calorie sweetener. it's another thing to back it up. the chevy 5-year/100,000 mile
degrees drirng for alcohol. an unusual road sign in italy is causing rubber necking there. it warns drivers to watch out for prostitutes ahead. according to the town mayor the women are distracting drivers and causing accidents. this sign is a classic. we're out of tone. up next is con tessa brewer and andrea mitchell the at 1:00. have a great day. we'll see you foam. here's your business travel photographic on thursday showers and thunderstorms through the ohio valley through the southeast, they're racing for the eastern seaboard. atlanta during the afternoon hours, and troitd and chicago much colder today and a little showery weather in the west coast and seattle. have a great day.